Short's Burger & Shine

very good

23 Ratings
Short's Burger & ShineShort's Burger & Shine

Type: Bar, Eatery

18 S Clinton St
Iowa City, Iowa, 52240-3912
United States

(319) 337-4678 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by rsultan on 03-04-2010

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by bditty187:
Photo of bditty187
4/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Seemed like a no-brainer stop for dinner and beer for a couple Nebraskans before a concert on campus. A) It was very close and B) The taps were all Iowa beer. Done and done.

We walked in on the early side of dinner on a Wednesday night; we were greeted by a waitress right away and told to sit wherever. We picked the bar.

Shorts is a narrow place, rectangular in shape with booth seating to the left and tables to the right, upon entering. Smallish bar in the middle of the room with one table past the bar before leading to a hallway where the bathrooms are located. The vibe was modern but fun with worn brick walls, dim lighting but live colors. Cool vibe. The place had a good buzz about it.

Fully stocked bar; didn't check out the bottle selection as the all-Iowa beer taps suited us just fine. I didn't stray far from what I liked and imbibed in a few Hop Wranglers. No complains about the beer taps but then again aside from Mad House we don't get any Iowa beers in Nebraska. I've had most of the stuff on-tap but that wasn't to say I didn't like the selection and concept.

We both had burgers, their specialty. My only beef (ha!) is the server didn't ask us how we wanted it cooked because the menu implied all burgers were cooked medium-well. But the couple that said down next to us (after we ordered) was smart enough to get their burgers cooked to medium. Lesson learned. I love hamburgers, all types from classic to funky. I would rate Short's as a solid A- (it was a very good burger but overcooked, IMO... still good flavor and style).

Service was solid. The bartender was attentive and nice enough... no idea if he knew anything about beer beyond what they had but he did make some "proper" recommendations that I over heard.

Prices seemed fair but honestly we didn't pay much attention.

Cool place. We would gladly stop back the next time we are in Iowa City.

 1,885 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of warlock_with_a_backpack
4.43/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

I love the food here. Their burgers are so dang good. Probs the best in IC. I also love that the beer is all local (iowa) so it is cool to get to try things from des moines area that you cant normally buy in cans or bottles. Prices are high however. Every time i go for dinner and a couple of beers i end up spending $30+. So i cant go as often as I would like. But the place is cool, it was built in an alley so the exposed brick is neat, and has a cool bar too. Good place to go to watch sports as well.

 505 characters

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of Taybeh
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

For what it is, this is excellent -- a college town burger joint with a lot (20 to 30?) of Iowa brews on tap. Fairly small and kind of dark, but I visited in the summer, so pretty relaxed. Really friendly servers/bartenders, only too happy to talk about beer. A lot of different burger options, not too fancy and very tasty. Best of all, everything is offered in 3 different sizes, so it is great for tasting!

 413 characters

Photo of burtonryan
5/5  rDev +25.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of wapcap
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

A very good local craft beer selection on tap, maybe the best in town. Their food was good, and the service was good. A great place to check out when in Iowa City

 163 characters

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Great place to grab a burger and a brew! Food is outstanding, tap selection rotates regularly but is usually about 80% Iowa beers. Good service and a nice clean place

 168 characters

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of beersdmf17
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of PBIU
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Wolfhead
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of 319Hawksfan
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Kubrickx
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of boogs
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of EdwardFortyHands
5/5  rDev +25.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

They have six Toppling Goliath taps. If i need to say more, you need to be bitch slapped.

Oh and they have great burgers. Local Iowa ingredients (mostly).

Two Hundred Fifty Characters is tough to reach when you have said everything needed in the first one hundred and forty five.

Lesser reviews are from 3 years ago when TG did not have SIX TAPS, seriously.

 360 characters

Photo of Rosstheboss
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of msubulldog25
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited twice: 11:45pm-1:15am (late night) on August 29/30, and for lunch 1:00-2:00pm August 30.

It was easy enough to find the slender little bar in daylight, but it's an unassuming place at night - it's moody darkness and chill Pandora playlist no match for the thumping bass and flashing lights of the many nearby college bars. I was only in Iowa City for one night (on business) and I'm a 40-ish year old beer lover - hmm, where would I rather go?

Short's is sited along Clinton Street, opposite the square where the gold-domed Old Capitol building sits. At night, the softly-illuminated brick walls, checkered lattice on the ceiling and narrow wooden bar has an 'urban' feel, more sophisticated; It transcends one of the space's former uses as a shoe repair business (hence the name). A few silver dollar coins embed in the worn hardwood floor, seeming to glow when the light catches them just right. I grabbed a stool at the far left end of the bar; at midnight there were less than ten patrons remaining, most engrossed in casual conversation, laughter interspersed. I was greeted by Matt (or as the regulars called him as they high-fived 'Swanny' [sp?]), the lone bartender of the evening - he's a very cool guy, matching the tone that Hendrix and The Black Keys were setting . The printed menu list about 20 taps, all from local Iowa breweries like Peace Tree, Toppling Goliath, and Millstream and including a few I'd never heard of (Angry Cedar, Van Houzen, Backpocket).. I spotted some macro-lager bottles in a cooler, but none on tap.

Drafts are listed as either 11 oz. or 16 oz. pours and were priced a good bit high compared with a couple other places I visited (for instance: all TG beers were $5.75 for the small pour and $7.50 for a pint!... and the Van Houzens -all 8%+ mind you- were $7.50/11 oz!!!). I was granted a couple of freebie samples and ultimately picked the PT 'Hop Wrangler' (good IPA) to start and a VH 'Symphony' (imperial stout with 'home-made' chocolate) to finish. Oddly, I was only charged for the second one... tipped for both plus the samples, too. Nice vibe, really enjoyed chatting with the bartender and one of the locals about topics as varied as baseball and beer, diet and exercise, the 2008 flood and where to buy the best hummus in town (New Pioneer Co-op makes one with nuts and peppers apparently, just so you know...).

Though I checked out the menu thoroughly at night, I didn't try anything from it until the next day, when I convinced my traveling coworker to go for lunch. The menu is full of (what else?) 'burger' options: 24 beef, 14 chicken and 6 black bean options; all are named after Iowan counties and are priced between $8.50-10. I picked the 'Essex' (grilled peppers, brie, mushrooms, pepper mayo); it was good but not as ridiculously delicious as the decadence we'd had a Zombie Burger (Des Moines) the previous day. My coworker said the same about her 'Maynard'... oh well. My last chance to drink Iowan beer locally (we were leaving town in a couple hours) meant one final Toppling Goliath 'Golden Nugget' - it was definitely my favorite beer of the trip. Alison was our server and did a nice job, working around a fairly brisk lunch crowd and our request to change tables to catch a little breeze on the tiny outside platform (a shady canopy on a 95 degree day helped only a little). I marked Value at '$$$', because a $40 (w/tax & tip) lunch, 2 burgers and 2 beers, just seemed a little spendy.

All in all, a pretty good spot ~ if and when I'm in town again, I'd return...

 3,545 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.83/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in at Short's yesterday for a late lunch after hitting John's, after it was recommended both by John's staff and the bartender at Sanctuary.

Narrow dark tavern, formerly a shoeshine business, thus the "shine" part of the name, and single shoeshine chair near the door. Inside, there are a few tables and 4 booths along the left side, with a long bar in the back. A single elevated patio table was enclosed in a black gate under the green awning outside. Inside there were exposed brick walls, modern copper lamps, dark wood floors and paneling on the lower wall, with bric-brac overhead. The bar was modern with a dark wood top, metal edges, and little inset window boxes in the wall behind it, holding random historical mementos. Industrial textures met with some salvaged antique elements. There were a couple muted flatscreen tv's and music playing.

Main draw here are the creative burgers and 10 exclusive taps of Iowa craft beer. There was a good mix, two from Toppling Goliath (Tsunami Dark and Dorothy's), a couple from Court Ave., Old Man, Peace Tree (sidewalk board outside advertising Blonde Fatale), Madhouse, and Millstream. There were 4-5 craft bottles too, and strangely about 20 typical macro bottles you can find anywhere. A redeeming sign on our table advertised a Peace Tree tap takeover coming up next weekend.

Food was great, the Baxter burger arrived as advertised with blackened bacon, melted provolone, and chipotle mayo. Spicy sauce on the table was great with the fries. Service was ok, they got a little busy before a 5pm shift change, and the one day shift waitress struggled to keep up until reinforcements arrived (probably not the norm). Overall I liked the place and would return to see what they had on tap again.

 1,758 characters

Photo of rundocrun
3.95/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

A - I gotta say, I love what they've done with this space. I used to come here all the time when it was Baldy's and admittedly it was pretty junky and run-down looking. Now, they have lots of historically relevant pictures and objects (a tribute to what the building was originally used for in the early 20th century. You have your choice of booth, bar, or 2-person tables both inside and out on a small patio.

Q - The menu is pretty simple here but all the beef for the burgers comes from a farm 26.5 miles away where cows are raised naturally. They also have chicken sandwiches and black bean burgers. The beer is mostly from Iowa breweries and they always seem to have a few of the best/my favorites on-tap.

Service - Average. You don't have to wait too long for your meal usually and the waitresses/waiters are nice.

Selection - Here is where I am a little conflicted. They have certainly made every effort to support Iowa breweries. They have an unparalleled selection of Iowa beers on tap--both from the big-hitters (Millstream, Peace Tree) and the smaller lesser-known ones (Old Man River, Old Maine). As far as sheer volume of beer selection, it's not that great. Therefore the 3.5 rating.

F - As I said earlier. The food is great. Especially because of their efforts to support local farmers. My one beef with the food (no pun intended) is that the fries are soggy, but that's more of a personal preference.

Everything on the menu is under $10 which I consider to be a great deal!

 1,494 characters

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Shorts is an old-fashioned burger joint in the middle of Iowa City's campus downtown. The inside is a bit dark, with old wooden booths and the feel of a bygone era. One nice touch for the ambiance is the dark wooden floor with embedded silver dollars.

The quality is very good, both for the beers and the food. All ten tap lines are Iowa beers, including Millstream, Peace Tree, Madhouse, Court Ave, Old Man River/Back Pocket and Toppling Goliath. Other (non-Iowa) beers are available in bottles. The food is sandwiches-- burgers, chicken and veggie burger. What sets it apart is the quality of the ingredients-- locally raised/process beef, cooked just right, fresh homemade buns, and other ingredients. The toppings are interesting combinations named after Iowa towns. I opted for the Popejoy burger that came with Muffaletta, capicolla and provolone. All very tasty, nice fries, and a pint of Court Ave stout made for a perfect meal.

Service was very good considering it was busy and crowded. There were a few people waiting for seats but the server didn't make us feel at all hurried.

With a combination of good vibe, great food, reasonable price and good service, all surrounding the nice Iowa beer selection, I'll definitely look forward to visiting again.

 1,265 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.63/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

As far as the bar scene goes, it's ok. The all Iowa tap list is a great idea. I like the idea. They have a underwhelming selection of bottled beers. Emily and I are both fans of the Peacetree Red Rambler, but it didn't taste up to snuff at Shorts. Could have been the taps, but obviously we can not say for certain. She ended up settling for a Matilda in a bottle. They have quite a few single malt scotches, which I appreciate, albeit way overpriced. $10 for a single of Ardbeg? It's a $50 bottle.

The burgers were good. Although never asked for a temperature, I felt my burger came out just a little well done for my liking. I thought it was interesting that we were never asked for a temperature. For a good burger and some good, local beers, stop by. Don't go out of your way if you are interested in a great tap list, or really excellent beers.

 851 characters

Photo of augievikings
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4

After reading the previous review, we stopped at Short's last weekend while in Iowa City. The main reason for stopping was their selection of "all Iowa" beers on tap. I am familiar with the Millstream line of products and wanted a chance to try some different Iowa beers. Downtown Iowa City is not a diverse beer mecca to say the least!

There were 9 taps and a nice variety of beer. We looked at the menu and the burgers all looked excellent, but neither of us was hungry enough to order one at the time. The bartender was a young college kid who had virtually no knowledge of beer (or liquor for that matter). The bartender spent most of our time at the bar flirting with a waitress or talking with his buddies or on his cell phone. Given the limited selection of craft beer in Iowa City establishments, I would still go back despite the lackluster service.

 859 characters

Photo of AugiePrimrose
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

A cool little narrow space in downtown Iowa Cty. A nice darkened restaurant/bar that's inviting and relaxing. I docked atmosphere points because we ending up leaving as the young bartender and manager started blaring hip-hop and dancing. kids.

The beers and food were both fresh and presented well. It's an Iowa centered establishment that's get's most products local.

Everything was going swimmingly until the employees felt the need to get their groove on. Then it got a little odd/lame.

It's an all Iowa taplist. Sooo, it wasn't the greatest set of pints I ever had, but I respect the idea. Peace Tree and Millstream seem to be the surest bets.

An all burger, chicken breast, black bean pattie menu. Those three items served different ways. I like the idea, but they were out of several toppings the day we visited. My burger was good though, but my wife's black bean pattie was pretty poor. The fries were great.

The food was actually a bit under the usual IC prices, and the beer was fairly priced, as in, not like $6 at some other spots downtown.

 1,057 characters

Short's Burger & Shine in Iowa City, IA
3.99 out of 5 based on 23 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.